Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with Tood Phillips,
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; Driving School with Starsky and Hutch;
Fashion Insights with Huggy Bear; Last Look Special (documentary
spoof); Deleted scenes; Gag reel; Theatrical trailer.
STARSKY and Hutch fans rejoice! Over-sized cardigans, spectacular
perms, screeching red and white-striped Ford Gran Torinos and,
of course, Huggy Bear, are back, and theyre just as hip
and stylish as ever.
Fans of the popular television series, which ran from September
1975 to August 1979, should not be disappointed in this big screen
makeover, from the team behind such comic hits as Road Trip and
Old School, as this emerges as a keenly observed, brilliantly
fun homage to LA's original partners in crime.
And while die-hard S&H fans may lament the toning down of
the original series toughness, even the most hardened cynic
will struggle to keep a straight-face during some of the better
realised nods, such is the films ability to hit almost every
target it aims for.
Some of my earliest, and fondest, TV memories span from watching
Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul dishing out justice to LAs
criminals, while the car represented the vehicle that every boy
craved. Heck, I even had a copy of some of David Souls singles
(although refrained from the desire to wear a cardigan on social
It is with some authority, therefore, that I can say this works,
coming across as a sheer, unadulterated joy, from start to finish,
and one which I cannot wait to see again.
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson portray the eponymous heroes and,
visually, do a pretty good job of recapturing the look and style
of the cultural icons. Stiller, especially, revels as Starsky,
effortlessly pinning down the characters mannerisms, as
well as some of his more infamous screen moments, while Wilson
has his moments, even if he lacks the necessary toughness to fully
do justice to the Hutch persona.
Yet Snoop Dogg, as Huggy Bear, and Vince Vaughn, as bad guy,
Reese Feldman, revel in their roles, nailing the requirements
of the genre, as well as their lines, with obvious abandon.
Stiller is quoted as saying that he used to play Starsky and
Hutch as a kid, and made it known that he would be interested
in playing the character on-screen when the rights first became
available, and this affection is obvious, for the performance
is pitched perfectly - much like the movie.
Anyone who has ever witnessed the opening titles of a classic
television episode can virtually tick off the visual references,
with everything from Starskys descent down an outside stairwell,
before leaping onto a roof, the car being chased through an alleyway,
and the duos strut through a sauna in skimpy towels, being
catered for in some way.
Director, Todd Phillips, avoids the temptation to parody or spoof
things in an insulting way, and, by opting to treat it as the
failed pilot for Starsky and Hutch, actually brings his
own slant on the subject, by choosing to show how the partners
first met and forged their friendship.
The ensuing relationship (which he describes as a romantic
comedy between two straight men) unfolds during an investigation
into Vaughns wealthy businessman, who is planning the biggest
drug deal of his lucrative career.
Yet the plot is largely secondary to the fun on show, with scene
after scene evoking memories of the series in some way, even if
the decision to play up the homosexuality element
becomes a little over-stretched.
Highlights, needless to say, include a cameo appearance by the
original actors, as well as the pairs attempts to seduce
two cheerleaders (Carmen Electra and Amy Smart), and their questioning
of another barely clad suspect.
But any scene involving Doggs streetwise Huggy Bear, or
Vaughns charismatic villain, also score highly.
This is, without doubt, a glorious nostalgia trip through one
of the Seventies greatest partnerships, that really ought to warrant
a sequel. You wont want it to end.